One night, the captain of a Navy warship saw a light heading straight for him. He signalled ahead: “Change course twenty degrees.” The reply flashed back: “Advisable you change course twenty degrees.” The captain didn’t accept this response. “I’m a captain” he signalled “change course twenty degrees.” The reply “I’m a seamen second class, change course twenty degrees.” By this time the captain was furious. “I’m a battleship! Change course twenty degrees.” To which came the response “I’m a lighthouse!” The captain changed course.
So often we work or socialize with people and we make assumptions about them. This person is rude. That person is self absorbed. We make these assumptions without having any idea what is going on in that person’s life. Maybe they were up all night with a crying baby, maybe they just got news that a family member is ill, maybe they just woke up on the wrong side of the bed, maybe they are just a quiet person.
When we make assumptions we start to believe negative thoughts about the person, we start to treat them differently. We are rude to them because we think they are being rude to us. And the cycle continues. The person is probably really amazing, but because we have decided that they’re rude, we miss out on knowing this awesome person.
I have been mindful of this for a few months and the results have surprised me. First, I realized that I have been incredibly judgemental. I stop myself now when I start to form these assumptions. I think about the things that the person is doing which I am judging them on. And rather than continuing the thought process, where I am deciding what type of person they are (or that I think they are), I TALK TO THEM. And guess what, most of the time they are a really nice person who doesn’t realize that they’re taking it out on those they are interacting with. Most of the time, their mood has nothing to do with me.
We get so wrapped up in ourselves that we think everything has to do with us… guess what… it doesn’t! Don’t take things so personally, it likely has nothing to do with you.
As you intereact with people, notice how you make assumptions about them. Try reacting to them with kindness, despite their mood. Who knows, your kindness could change their demeanour altogether. Your kindness might snap them out of it. Break the cycle! 🙂